Life without art is boring and dull. But often at times, art is a subject that is underestimated in schools. The art courses in many schools are being cut back across the country. Many classrooms now have little supplies, and some courses are being taken away entirely. There are many reasons to which students need the aspect of art education in their curriculum, whether it is because it is an outlet for them to explore their creativity, or to work in a way that is soothing and in a stress- free environment.
Art should be a mandatory subject to be taught in elementary and middle school as a child is growing up, but cutting back on art programs in schools seems to be a common solution to budget cuts since the 1970s when budget cuts began. Fewer public schools are offering art classes, whether it is in drama, dance, or visual art. This decline is due to budget cuts and an increased focus on math, science, and reading. Unfortunately, art classes are the first to be cut from schools, because the arts aren’t taken as seriously as subjects such as math and science because the arts programs are the first to be cut.
This is a major problem in education. The movement to cut art from many schools has been growing in recent years. Education cuts are becoming more prevalent as schools face tough decisions on budgets. Unfortunately, art classes are usually some of the first victims of these cuts. Recent protests in California reflect the growing concern about budget cuts. Schools have already made cuts of $18 billion in California and more cuts totaling $4. 1 billion may be necessary (Kirkland 1).
California is not the only state facing this situation. Lower tax revenues, increasing prices and the slow economic recovery have created problems across the United States. The event of recent cuts in the art programs is a serious issue, and when I become an art teacher I want to take a stand against it and teach my students how important art is in school. Why do people view art as a “light” or and “unimportant” subject? In the old days, fine art was considered a hobby for the rich and privileged. Now, it is talked down upon.
According to Olivia Hauck, the author of 2009-10: Against Cutting Art and Music Programs in School, the study of music, theatre, and other forms of art have been shown to stimulate other parts of students’ minds and even keep them out of gangs and other harmful situations (1). Art and music programs in schools provide a different kind of learning environment that supplies alternative activities, while avoiding bad behavior. If kids are having fun in this different kind of stress free and expressive environment, they will be less likely to want to go and act recklessly.
The arts are a way to present opportunities for jobs to students and other forms of self-discipline. Art increases critical thinking skills and enhances creativity, because drawing and working with different mediums to create pictures is expanding thinking and working on solving problems in a new way. This is important, especially for students that aren’t skilled at math or science. Art is crucial in schools so students have the opportunity to explore their interests and passions.
The students that are affected by cuts in the art programs may not be able to afford private lessons or classes after school. And for some of these students, arts are what pushes them to continue going to school. Bob Sabol, president of the National Art Education Association, says, “You hear students say, ‘I found out who I was because I was able to explore my identity in the visual arts. ’ It validates who they are as individuals” (2). Art programs in education make it possible for students to explore themselves and their talents, which is the most important aspect of school.
It’s the responsibility of educators to make sure that every kid is exposed to the arts, that they get their shot at being creative because — who knows — the person who cures something like cancer will probably be somebody who thinks like an artist” (Stauter, 1). Having an open mind and seeing things in different ways makes a person more likely to succeed in all areas of life. “You could have a budding Beethoven that could go undiagnosed because you didn’t have a music teacher to identify and nurture that talent,” said Debbie Fahmie, fine- and performing-arts resource teacher for Osceola County.
If schools had no fine art classes, many students would have no opportunity to identify and develop their talent. They would be forced to go into fields that aren’t meant for them. Students are our future, and a future education without fine art could mean no more musicians, artists, actors, etc. Our world would be bland and lifeless without our artists, and the last thing that should be cut from schools are the art programs. I believe that all schooling should be divided into science, humanities and art.
Science deals with the concrete, direct figures, and numbers that neglect emotions and view all humans as representatives of the living world and nothing more. Humanities are the classes that deal with the behavior, problems, and society. Art on the other hand is the subject that deals with the forms and beauty and allows us to think of the things around us as of useful objects that are worth our attention, time and effort. It should be treated just as equally as all other subjects. When I become an art teacher, I will make sure that I stress how important art is.
I will show my students that art goes into all aspects of life. I want to expose my students with all different kinds of art, and encourage them to take different classes like drama, music of creative writing. It is important that students experiment with these subjects, because if not they may not have a chance to discover their passion. Cutting art programs in schools will be detrimental to education, especially for students that are more creative thinkers than concrete ones. Students mold our future, and they need to be able to explore their creativity as they grow up.